Monday, January 25, 2010

Mariah Carey and Bubbly

No I'm not talking about her recent drunken acceptance speech at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. The soon to be released Rose Bubbly is called Angel. Having existed for 13 years from Reims, France, it appears the Mariah's bubbly will be more of an ownership transaction than the creation of a new winery.

It seems more and more celebrities are looking to expand their brand empires by buying labels or producing their own wines. Rapper Lil' John, has his own label made from California Merlot, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. I have yet to taste these wines along with Mariah Carey's bubbly. I wonder how much is marketing and how much is quality. I like the attention and media the wine industry gets from these brands but if it detracts from showing high quality wines and the passion behind the product, then I wonder if we should continue to let this happen. Producing buckets of sweet or fruity wine to appeal to the masses and expand an empire is not the goal of most wine producers, unless you are Gallo of course.

For those of us who have created careers around high quality wines and their experiences, I can only hope that celebrities have had similar experiences and want to create that for all their fans. If not, this is not the T-shirt industry, this is not just another product to place your logo or face on.

If you get the chance to try and of these wines let me know. I would love to hear you opinion and I will do the same.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Year...New Goals

It is now two weeks into the New Year and a new me...well here is hoping. I can't help but think about one of my huge goals for the year. The Sommelier Exam. I have recently started studying again. I look forward to completing this certification in the fall. With that being said, a lot goes into preparing for this exam. This is a three part exam involving a blind tasting, written exam and a service exam.

The blind tasting is the most exciting, expensive and challenging portion. It takes, time, money and diligence to prepare one's palate for a blind tasting. I find tasting with other people is the best way to prepare. It always helps to compare notes and hear additional descriptors. As I begin to taste my way around the world I invite you to taste with me. Due to my current craving for Malbec from Argentina, I find that to be the most appropriate place to start. Tasting notes will follow in the next few weeks.

The written exam is the most obscure. It tests each student on their detailed wine geography and wine pairing knowledge. Preparing for this portion of the exam reminds me of finals in college. There never seems to be enough time to cram. Currently, I am re-reading the textbook, Sales & Service for the Wine Professional, I am trying to focus on the bigger picture before memorizing every detail and wine region.

Finally, The exam finishes with a service exam often involving Champagne. In between tasting wines from around the world and memorizing first growths in Bordeaux, I will be popping a few corks, so I invite you to join me for some bubbles!

As I progress and my knowledge base continues to expand I will share some of my favorite wine facts!

Cheers to the New Year and new wines to taste!